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Millennials often get a bad rap. Defined as the generation born between 1982 and 2000, they have been described as entitled, spoiled, lazy, fragile and absorbed in their on-screen lives.
Older generations tend to see millennials as spendthrifts who’d rather waste their parents’ money on unnecessary luxuries than investing their own sensibly.
What these critics tend to forget is the fact that members of the elder segment of the millennial generation are well on their way to 40 now, have families of their own and – on top of that – take responsibility for the well-being of their aging parents.
In many cases, they’ve managed to build lives for themselves despite the financial restraints placed on them by unprecedented student loan debt.
So, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and see what millennials can actually teach other generations about money.
One big difference between older generations and millennials is the fact that the latter prefers to spend money on experiences rather than material things.
In a poll conducted a few years ago, 82% of millennials revealed they would rather spend their money on travelling and attending parties, festivals, cultural performances, sporting events, concerts etc.
According to economists, it’s a pretty smart choice as spending money on experiences provides more satisfaction than buying stuff.
For example, you can save on housing costs by moving into a smaller home. You can also reduce your expenses on shoes, clothes, and other items. Be smart also when it comes to loans.
Further, allocate your spending appropriately.
While older generations might be distrustful of technology – especially when it comes to the management of finances – making use of apps and online platforms for an array of purposes is second nature to millennials.
These days, there are apps for every kind of financial need you might have – from banking to budgeting and even stock trading! The benefits of cashing in on these platforms are endless – less physical paperwork, easy to access via your mobile phone, less time spent queuing at the bank.
It is, however, important to ensure that before you share any personal details online, the site or app you’re using comes from a reputable source. If you’re unsure, call in the help of a millennial – they are sure to sniff out anything dodgy.
The reason? Well, it’s simply becoming too expensive to own things like cars and holiday homes. So, why not borrow them instead?
While Baby Boomers consider ownership a mark of success, millennials don’t mind ditching the down payments on homes/cars. They’re quite happy to share rides/spaces with their peers while saving money for their next meaningful experience.
Apart from being lighter on the pocket, the sharing economy has also been instrumental in creating entrepreneurship opportunities. As more urban millennials opt to go carless, relying on Uber, Lyft and the likes instead, there are fewer new cars on the road, which can only benefit the environment too.
Millennials have grown up truly being spoiled for choice when it came to affordable, fast-fashion outlets. However, as the wastefulness and environmental impact of this industry become ever more apparent, this woke generation is opting for more conscious ways to satiate their fashion hunger.
Among consumer choices like buying more locally-made goods and supporting artisans, thrifting is an ever-popular and pocket-friendly option.
Whereas previous generations may have seen thrift shopping as something shameful, millennials see it as an opportunity to save money while finding pieces that are truly rare and, in many cases, one-of-a-kind.
Remember the days when you got a job in your mid-20s, stayed there till your early 60s and retired with pride, joy and a golden handshake?
Well, it’s safe to say, those days are gone.
Typically, millennials are far less concerned about security than the parents were and more open to the idea of taking risks.
With remote work becoming the status quo for many online companies, millennials are also able to work from anywhere and divide their time as they see fit. This opens up endless opportunities to diversify their income with all sorts of side hustles – from selling second-hand clothes on Instagram to making money from blogging.
So, rather than being ‘lazy’ and ‘entitled’ as their elders accuse them of being, millennials are actually exceedingly hardworking, innovative and entrepreneurial.
All in all, millennials are a generation with more than enough financial savvy to go around. Perhaps take a page out of their colourful book!